The A List

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1. People

Parent: Time Inc.

Publisher: Paul Caine

Managing editor: Martha Nelson

Ad pages: 2,718.7 + 6.5%

Total circulation: 3,779,640 + 1.3%

Subscriptions: 2,294,602 + 0.6%

Single-copy sales: 1,485,038 + 2.5%

For first anticipating, then foreshadowing and these days still flourishing amid a celebrity sector that's beginning to look downright imperial in its expansion, People seized the A-List's top spot. It doesn't hurt that the advertiser-friendly title brings in more revenue and profit than any other at the Time Inc. machine, which is striving to meet its numbers. At 31, People isn't a young-and-sexy startup, but success has a certain attraction of its own.

2. Real Simple

Parent: Time Inc.

President-publisher: Robin Domeniconi

Managing editor: Kristin van Ogtrop

Ad pages: 1,114.2 +20.4%

Total circulation: 1,947,004 +13.1%

Subscriptions: 1,522,620 +14.3%

Single-copy sales: 424,384 +9%

By now, Real Simple has relegated its doubters to a space-saving dustbin. More importantly, it continues to expand the brand and attract huge numbers of readers and ads with such a crisp and consistently engaging product that it could only be created by a supercomputer. Either that, or top editor Kristin van Ogtrop excels at her job. (We also like the new, simpler cover line "Life made easier.")

3. Us Weekly

Parents: Wenner Media, Walt Disney Co.

Publisher: Victoria Lasdon Rose

Editor in chief: Janice Min

Ad pages: 1,311.4 +13.3%

Total circulation: 1,674,267 +23.9%

Subscriptions: 685,256 +13.2%

Single-copy sales: 989,011 +32.6%

Last year's Magazine of the Year could not be budged from the A-List, despite competition from People above and rising In Touch Weekly and Star. Is it responsible for busting the category wide open? If so, don't complain. If stargazing draws readers and advertisers, publishers rejoice. And Us's relatively positive editorial approach helps us all maintain some sense of decency even while we peek through celebrities' windows.

4. More

Parent: Meredith Corp.

Publisher: Brenda Saget Darling

Editor in chief: Peggy Northrop

Ad pages: 665 +14.9%

Total circulation: 1,051,049 +9.3%

Subscriptions: 931,449 +8.7%

Single-copy sales: 119,600 +14.1%

Combined with Meredith's acquisition of books like Child and Parents, the success of More adds clout to the company strategy of selling ads for women of any age/life stage. Editor Peggy Northrop has kept the magazine fresh, partly through its first redesign in six years. Big advertisers have embraced it despite their infatuation with the younger crowd; Ford Motor Co. sponsored the "More Model Search" and included the winning models in a print effort.

5. Glamour

Parent: Cond‚ Nast Publications

VP-publisher: William Wackermann

Editor in chief: Cynthia Leive

Ad pages: 1,246.5 +10.4%

Total circulation: 2,340,958 -0.9%

Subscriptions: 1,448,438 +4.3%

Single-copy sales: 892,520 -8.2%

A slip in total circulation and a larger decline in newsstand sales can't erase the stellar year Glamour has had. This summer, it surprised many by walking away with the biggest prize at the National Magazine Awards. No women's magazine had won for general excellence since 1992. Plus, ad pages at the mature pub are climbing, and, Glamour says, second-half newsstand sales are performing better than in the first half.

6. Teen Vogue

Parent: Cond‚ Nast Publications

VP-publisher: Gina Sanders

Editor in chief: Amy Astley

Ad pages: 725.2 +29.8%

Total circulation: 1,527,990 +168.8%

Subscriptions: 1,304,936 +297%

Single-copy sales: 223,054 -7%

Admittedly, Teen Vogue declined at newsstand and only racked up its eye-popping circulation growth by adding former YM subscribers to its rolls in February. (Cond‚ Nast acquired YM from Gruner & Jahr.) But the YM absorption leaves Teen Vogue with larger total circ than CosmoGirl and nipping at Teen People, and publishing isn't entirely about organic growth. If former YM readers re-up in large enough numbers, the Cond‚ Nast title will be sitting prettier than ever.

7. Runner's World

Parent: Rodale

VP-publisher: Andrew Hersam

Editor in chief: David Willey

Ad pages: 514.4 +22%

Total circulation: 608,519 +5.2%

Subscriptions: 522,594 +5.2%

Single-copy sales: 85,925 +5.3%

Runner's World is stocked, of course, with shoe ads in increasing numbers, but it has leveraged its core mission to draw in ads promoting cars, antiperspirant, DTC, Michelob Ultra, etc. Runner's World says it's on track to set a personal best for ad revenue this year and claims more than 130 new advertisers in the past two years, 40% of them nonendemic.

8. O, the Oprah Magazine

Parents: Hearst Magazines, Harpo Print

VP-publisher: Jill Seelig

Editor in chief: Amy Gross

Ad pages: 1,199 +10.1%

Total circulation: 2,622,718 -3.6%

Subscriptions: 1,516,006 -15.7%

Single-copy sales: 1,106,712 +20%

Celebrity-branded magazines-like Sly from American Media and Reader's Digest Association's new Every Day With Rachael Ray-are coming quickly now that they've seen the success of Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. But O continues to stand out with double-digit ad-page gains this year and a surge of newsstand buyers.

9. GQ

Parent: Cond‚ Nast Publications

Publisher: Peter King Hunsinger

Editor in chief: Jim Nelson

Ad pages: 1,112.4 +8.6%

Total circulation: 824,334 +1.2%

Subscriptions: 609,238 +1.3%

Single-copy sales: 215,096 +0.7%

Men's magazines often struggle to be funny-the try-too-hard lad mags come to mind-but GQ shows some skill in this arena, as in its September send-up of celebrity weeklies: "Supreme Court Justices: They're just like us!" It's worth noting that Jim Moore has reached his 25th year as creative director at GQ. (The mag noted it with 80 extra pages of ads.) For edit quality and consistency, endorsed by rising ad pages, GQ lands on our A-List.

10. The Week

Parent: Dennis Publishing

President: Justin B. Smith

Editor in chief: William Falk

Ad pages: 389 +16.8%

Total circulation: 351,960 +42.8%

Subscriptions: 350,960 +43%

Single-copy sales: 1,000 -4.9%

The newsweeklies that were losing strength and influence as early as the late 1980s are still struggling to compete with the insta-news of today. As the traditional powerhouses watch ad pages ebb, Dennis Publishing has made a go of it with The Week, which combines The Economist's international perspective and many blogs' useful tendency to repurpose other outlets' news. The Week is throwing off heat in a category that otherwise looks cold.

Notes: Year-to-date ad page numbers are for January-September 2005, from Publishers Information Bureau; during this period, overall ad pages for magazines tracked by PIB rose 1%. Circulation numbers are averages for the six-month period ended June 30, 2005, from Audit Bureau of Circulations. All percentage changes are vs. year-earlier period.

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